Wednesday, 15 January 2014
A Big Scare
In reverse order, my credit card was found to be “compromised” (someone had got my card details) – luckily the bank found out and cancelled it pronto before someone made use of it. But it made me realise how vulnerable we are with card fraud.
My dear mate Viv was due to come back to Cornwall for the first time in 18 months and spend the weekend with me, but she was unable to come back because her partner has had to go into hospital. On that note, Mr B is still very poorly and surrounded by illness so he’s not able to get back either.
And lastly, I found a lump in my stomach – about the size of an apple. It wasn’t painful and I didn't have any untoward symptoms, but it was definitely there, so I went to the doctor who prodded me and said I should have an urgent ultrasound and blood tests. Then she rang me when I got home and said she was referring me to a specialist straight away. “It could be a cyst on your bowel or ovaries, but it could be something more sinister,” she said. As there’s bowel cancer in my family, I think you can imagine how I felt.
Two days later I had a phone call saying I had an appointment to see a gynaecologist on 15th Jan. Great, I thought, I won't have to wait long. But the next day I got the letter saying it was for the Gynaecology Oncology department. I freaked.
Fear hovered around me like a particularly bad hangover, about to pounce. I fought against it, determined it wouldn’t take over, but at very wobbly moments, it clawed at me and my stomach plummeted, as if I was in a lift crashing to the ground floor. No matter how wonderful friends are, it’s a terrifying, incredibly isolating experience and makes you feel incredibly vulnerable. The future, that I’d always taken for granted, suddenly hovered like a sinister question mark.
One good thing about all this is, as I learnt when Pip was so ill, is that it made me realise what fabulous friends I have. At times like this you quickly learn who your real friends are, who you can rely on, and who you want to be with. At these times, it’s vital to spend time with the right people. The wrong ones can knock you off balance and I was much too vulnerable for that.
But I saw the gynaecologist today and he thinks it’s a cyst. (Phew.) I have to have a scan next week and they can see more clearly what it is, then go back in 3 weeks to discuss taking my ovaries out to prevent my getting another cyst. The recovery time for surgery is up to 12 weeks and no driving for 6 weeks, both of which fill me with horror, but I will just have to call in favours from my long suffering mates yet again. But at least thank god it doesn't sound as if it's cancer, which has been my worst fear.
Despite having the best friends in the world, who hugged me and mopped up my tears, gave me advice and reassurance, living on my own has been really hard. I’ve felt the absence of strong arms and a cuddle like a hollow ache. So if you know of someone going through similar circumstances, give them a very big hug. It means more than anything.
And remember, we only have one life. We have to look after ourselves - and those we love - and make the most of every day. Life's too short to be unhappy.